Published Date: 15 Dec 2023
This article explores the behavioural response of the multinational corporations who appeared before the Australian Senate’s four-year (2014–18) inquiry into corporate tax avoidance (Senate Inquiry). Specifically, it empirically investigates three sources of public information to determine the extent of the response, including tax-related financial statement data, tax return data published by the Australian Taxation Office and disclosures made under the Voluntary Tax Transparency Code (VTTC). Overall, the evidence suggests that the increased public scrutiny thrust upon companies during the Senate Inquiry did not induce a significant, immediate, socially desirable change in their tax practices. Little evidence exists of a reduction in tax avoidance measured using effective tax rates, an increase in taxable income or taxes paid, or the adoption of the VTTC. The results inform the ongoing debate on how best to ensure large companies pay their “fair share” of taxes.
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